Patrolman Clarence T. Smith

Patrolman Clarence T. Smith

Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio

End of Watch Tuesday, June 6, 1939

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Clarence T. Smith

Patrolman Clarence Smith died from burns received during a liquor raid at 6205 Quincy Avenue.

As they arrived, they saw a woman throw two containers out a window. Patrolman Smith retrieved the containers and found one contained whiskey and the other alcohol. Placing them on a shelf, he then proceeded to guard the two suspects, a husband and wife. Fearing the suspects might try to destroy the evidence, he decided to hold the containers.

Just as he was lifting the jug containing the alcohol, the male suspect grabbed a wooden coat hanger and smashed the jug, spilling the contents over a lit stove. Flames burst out, igniting Patrolman Smith. His partner quickly wrapped him in a mattress to extinguish the flames, but in doing so, he received burns to his hands and face. During this time, the two suspects escaped. A third person, sleeping in another room, was arrested.

Patrolman Smith was rushed to St. Vincent Charity Hospital in critical condition. Numerous officers gave blood, as did his wife. Four days after the incident, he succumbed to his injuries while his wife was en route to the hospital to give more blood. The man who hit the jug was later convicted.

Patrolman Smith was survived by his wife, two sons, a brother, a sister, and parents.

He was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.


  • Age 36
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Fire
  • Incident Date Friday, June 2, 1939
  • Weapon Person; Alcohol involved
  • Offender Convicted

alcohol violation, Raid

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NEVER FORGET! On behalf of the Ohio Attorneys General Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation, we honor the dedicated service and ultimate sacrifice of Patrolman John M. Donnelly of the Springfield Police Department, Ohio and the additional 72 American Peace Officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on this date in history.

Superintendent Joe Morbitzer
Ohio Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Investigation

June 6, 2023

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